Spotlight City: Xi’an, China
Xi’an is the capital of China’s Shaanxi province, with a population of 8.7 million. Holding sub-province status, it is the most populous city in northwest China, and has been named one of thirteen emerging megacities within China. Xi’an is a major cultural, educational, and industrial hub within the country, with substantial operations in national security, China’s space exploration program, and scientific development. Like most major Chinese cities, Xi’an is very safe, with petty crime being the primary concern of any foreign visitor.
Xi’an is considered a safe city by international standards. Violent crime is rare, and usually does not target foreigners. However, petty crime such as purse snatching and pickpocketing can pose a fair significant risk. Occurrences take place most often public spaces that foreigners frequent, such as tourist attractions and metro stations. This is often aided by heavy crowds, presenting a physical distraction.
Pickpockets and thieves are very active in commercial regions and popular tourist destinations. Keep an eye out while on East Street (the most prosperous commercial street in the city) and crowded resorts like North Square. Avoid travelling in isolated areas by yourself after dark.
Best Practices for Personal Security in Xi’an
In general, be aware of your surroundings in Xi’an and always be conscious of your belongings in public. Keep valuables and bags within view. Be aware of locations and situations that could make you vulnerable to crime, such as lane ways, isolated parks and buildings, back streets and poorly lit parking lots.
Avoid unofficial taxis, called “black cabs”. There have reports of foreigners being assaulted or robbed by black cabs. They may charge exorbitant rates and are generally considered unsafe and unreliable.
As a pedestrian, exercise a high degree of caution at all times. Traffic in Xi’an is chaotic and unpredictable, and traffic laws are rarely adhered to. Even public transit makes a poor effort rarely abides by traffic laws. stop signs. If you happen to be driving in China, do so extremely defensively but with decisiveness, as you will otherwise not be able to get anywhere.
What to Do in an Emergency
In the event of an emergency, dial 110 for police, 120 for an ambulance and 119 for fire. Contact the representation of your country in China as they may be able to provide further assistance. Be aware that assistance in English may be limited at local police stations and hospitals.
Xi’an’s rich 3,000-year-old history includes the status of capital for 13 dynasties, under a total of 73 emperors. It predates Beijing as the true root of Chinese civilization, serving as the capital of China for much of the country’s history. Today, Xi’an has a pleasant cosmopolitan flair and is a beacon of modernization within China. It boasts many attractive landmarks, including many prime examples of traditional Chinese architecture and the famed Terracotta Warriors. Any travelers who steps foot in China should put Xi’an on their list.
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